I must say, it’s almost like a mini-vacation, away from the college football drama and other assorted issues back in Louisville as I’ve arrived in California today to start work on the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be run on Friday and Saturday.
This is my first trip to Oak Tree at Santa Anita. They’ve spruced the place up, I understand, and things look nice. Designed in the 1930’s, it features an art deco style, if you’re into that kind of thing. It of course, has the natural aesthetics of palm trees in the infield and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance.
There’s a mall in the parking lot, where old training barns used to be. And, of course, the statue of Seabiscuit.
In a motel across the street from the track, Louisville native Hunter Thompson wrote most of his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The track is a popular spot for movie filming. A Marx Brothers movie was filmed here, and three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (“Walk on Water,” “Drowning on Dry Land,” and “Some Kind of Miracle”) were set here.
More pertinent to those following the actual racing, there’s the Pro-Ride synthetic racing surface which, with its dark gray hue, looks like asphalt if you just take a passing glance at the strip without noticing the texture.
I’ve not had much chance to look around beyond that. The track itself is located in Arcadia, Calif., about 13 miles northeast of Los Angeles. This track was the scene of one of the more regrettable actions in this nation’s history as a large internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.
Route 66 passes through here not far from the track.
So there you go. That sets the scene. Look for more from Santa Anita here over the next several days, as well as the usual football, basketball and baseball.
Don’t forget, Thursday night at 10 will be the usual live chat.
More to come . . .